Tag Archives: turbocharger

2017 Kia Soul! (Exclaim)

Kia Soul! adds power to its hip, economical stat sheet …2017 Kia Soul!

            In many regards Kia’s cute little Soul had everything going for it — first, its looks. The slope-roofed compact stands out in the dull boxy crossover market.

It’s also decidedly economical to buy and operate, with a low starting price and good mpg figures. The darned thing even handles well and has oodles of interior room so four hipsters can hop in, slap on their headphones and head for the beach, or, well, in Milwaukee, maybe a brew pub.

What it didn’t have was power. Now it does, thanks to Kia adding a turbocharger to its 1.6-liter I4. That boosts what had been a mild 130 horses up to 201. That may sound like it turns Soul into a rocket, but let’s just say it makes it quick, once you trounce the accelerator.2017 Kia Soul!

Still, this week’s metallic gray Soul! (Exclaim) with its snazzy neon red accent stripe below the lower door line, was peppy and still had all the other good stuff in its plus column.

This is the top-level Soul, but you’d be hard-pressed to prove it by the price tag. With delivery built in, the Soul! lists at $23,695 and this only added floor mats to end up at $23,815.

For that you get the zippy and efficient turbo engine that’s rated 26 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. I got 30.2 mpg in a mix of driving, and you know I was testing the turbo pretty aggressively at times. Nice! Continue reading 2017 Kia Soul! (Exclaim)

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Die-cast: Bburago 1:18 Ferrari California T

Bburago moves a bit more upscale with new Ferrari lineferrari

First the news – Bburago is moving more upscale with its Signature Series. Even bigger news, Bburago again has the license to create Ferrari models and has a full line for 2015 and beyond.

Bburago began as an Italian die-cast car maker 40 years ago when the Besano brothers created Martoys. Production took place in Burago di Molgora in Italy’s Monza province. In 1976 the company was renamed Bburago, combining the B from the brothers’ name with their plant’s hometown name. Now the May Cheong Group of China owns Bburago along with its other noteworthy die-cast brand, Maisto.

That’s the corporate history lesson, but the big deal is that Ferrari is back in the fold after 15 years and by way of celebration Bburago has created a 1:18 scale Ferrari California T in a striking dark metallic red with black roof. And it moves well beyond toy to collectible.

The History:

Yes, Ferris Bueller drove an old version of Ferrari’s California, but this model, the T first appeared in 2014. The T stands for turbo, as in turbocharger, something Ferrari had not used on any of its models since the stellar F40. That’s been a while! Continue reading Die-cast: Bburago 1:18 Ferrari California T

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport

lexus1First Lexus turbo turns up the juice in angular NX F Sport

If I were selecting a smallish sport-ute solely on looks Lexus’ NX would be my first choice.

I like its angular lines, its exciting sporty appearance, its 3D taillights and its front lights that appear to be large checkmarks laid sideways. I like the modern sporty look of its interior, again full of angles, and soft-touch materials used everywhere from dash to console.

The tested NX 200t F Sport was the same silver as an earlier pre-production hybrid NX I’d driven, but its interior was a sporty black and dark red leather with textured chrome dash and door inserts and satin finish chrome around the console and center stack. All the leather, seats, dash, steering wheel and door trim features red stitching. NX looks sharp, inside and out.

Honestly, I liked this one better than the hybrid because there was power when I pressed the accelerator. The 2.0-liter I4 is pumped up with a turbocharger, Lexus’ first, and includes dual variable valve timing to create a fairly efficient power source that delivers 235 horsepower and 258 ft.-lbs. of torque. If you need to scoot, the NX with turbo will scoot.

That puts something rare, sport, into a small sport-ute.

lexus3How small? Continue reading 2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport

2015 Chevrolet Trax LT AWD

Trax AWD offers high value for young SUV buyerstrax

            As Millennials and Gen-Xers battle for jobs and income in a challenging work environment it seems natural that small cars and small sport-utility vehicle sales would blossom.

Affordability and a high degree of usability would seem to be just what the new car/ute buyer would crave. So it’s no surprise that a host of small utes are being launched this year, with Chevrolet decidedly in the hunt.

Chevy already had the Aveo and Sonic small cars, but for 2015 launches the Chevy Trax a small ute riding on a 100.6-inch wheelbase and extending a modest 168.4 inches. That’s just about four inches longer than the recently tested Nissan Juke and Trax has a 1-inch advantage in wheelbase.

Yet unlike Juke, the Trax makes a compelling argument for small utes or crossovers. It’s fun to drive with nimble handling and a pleasant ride. While obviously trim, with a modest rear overhang, it’s reasonably attractive in a fit-in-with-the-neighbors sort of way. Folks won’t laugh at you.

trax1And if they ride with you and know what you paid for a Trax, they may even envy you.

Here’s why! Consider this the facts on Trax.

Trax, which is sold as the Holden Trax in Australia and built by General Motors in South Korea, is useful, equipped well at a low price, is available with all-wheel-drive and delivers excellent fuel economy. Continue reading 2015 Chevrolet Trax LT AWD

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T

Santa Fe Sport blends car, sport-ute nearly flawlesslysanta-fe-sport-01

There are few crossovers that come close to being the perfect blend of car and sport-utility, yet are comfortable and affordable too – but Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport is pretty darned close.

Hyundai remodeled its popular Santa Fe crossover lineup a couple years back and essentially split it into two models, the larger and heavier Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Sport, which is smaller and sportier. The latter, my friends, is the way to go.

My frost pearl white Sport looks and feels luxurious and is loaded with a ton of goodies, thanks to the Ultimate Package. But at its core it’s a high performing mid-size crossover for the family of four, or five. It handles well, rides well and has enough power to make it borderline fun.

The test unit was the Sport AWD 2.0T, the upper end Santa Fe Sport with a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 and all-wheel-drive. It lists at $33,000, plus an $875 delivery fee. This one added the appropriately named Ultimate Package for $4,350, pushing it to $38,350. That’s getting up there, but as you might suspect, there is a base model starting at $25,845 including delivery. It touts a 190-horse 2.4-liter I4 and comes with front-wheel drive.

You can move up to an AWD model for $27,575, or get a front-drive version with the turbo for $31,250. Plenty of choices.

Value is high in the test unit. Here’s what you get. Continue reading 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD

Good-looking crossover/SUV loaded with tech goodies

There are a lot of mid-size SUVs (crossovers) to choose from and now Hyundai has gone and redesigned its Santa Fe, to help complicate your choices.santa1

First, it’s a good-looking reskin with an edgier look and Hyundai continues to refine its vehicles to make them more upscale to fill the demands of the U.S. marketplace. So this white test ute was awash in technical doodads and electronic wizardry, sadly pushing it toward the upper end of what many folks would expect to pay for a useful mid-size ute. The Santa Fe Sport with all-wheel-drive and Hyundai’s 2.0-liter I4 with a turbo lists at $29,450. That’s still in the ballpark. But this one ladled on two pricy premium and technology packages to push the tester up to $35,925. That’s $36 grand in my book.

We can argue price and value and all that, but first, let’s tell you what you get. Continue reading 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD

2013 Volkswagen CC Sport

Streamlined CC Sport shows what VW can do

When Volkswagen launched its sporty CC in 2009 it went head-to-head with its own Passat, at the time a dowdy midsize sedan that was in need of a restyling.1VW

Now, Passat is coming off a facelift last year to thin it’s body to blend more with the other mid-size sedans that sell well, Toyota’s Camry, Honda’s Accord, Ford’s Fusion and Chevrolet’s Malibu. So the CC, which VW calls a coupe, but is indeed a midsize sport sedan, stands out as a distinct step up from Passat, if performance and looks tickle your lederhosen.

CC is sleek with a swept-back rear window and trunk lid giving the car a coupe-like appearance, despite its four doors. Its profile is low and lean, so low in fact that I could stand with my arm resting on its roof and not even strain a tendon. Not many cars are this streamlined looking and the CC actually is more exciting looking in person than in even VW’s press photos. Continue reading 2013 Volkswagen CC Sport